Unless Canada joins the United States in its ballistic missile defense (BMD) plan, the U.S. does not have to defend Canada against a North Korean — or any — missile strike.
Constituting the only other member of the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command won’t help Canada either, says Lt.-Gen. Pierre St-Amand, the deputy commander of the continental defense alliance that has guarded the North American skies since 1957.
“The extent of the U.S. policy is not to defend Canada,” St-Amand told the House of Commons defense committee on Thursday when asked about a potential North Korean missile strike on North America. “That’s the fact I can bring to the table.”
The Parliamentary committee held an emergency session to discuss Canada’s potential membership in BMD — just as the North Koreans were preparing to fire another missile.
Canada was asked to join the defense system in 2005 by then-president George W. Bush. Canada politely refused, but one year later, many anticipated the new Conservative government under Stephen Harper would reverse that decision.
It did not.
Since then, many Canadian defense analysts have repeated the assumption that Canada’s membership in NORAD would compel the U.S. to take down an incoming missile.
The defense committee also examined how the North Korean regime views Canada. A senior bureaucrat with Global Affairs Canada said that while the rogue state is a clear and present threat to world peace, it doesn’t necessarily see Canada as an enemy.
“There’s been no direct threat to Canada,” said Mark Gwozdecky. “In fact, on the contrary, in recent contacts with the North Korean government, including in August when our national security adviser was in Pyongyang, the indications were they perceived Canada as a peaceful and indeed a friendly country.”
Conservative defense critic James Bezan said he was particularly surprised to hear this news — especially when Canada went to war against North Korea to protect the sovereignty of South Korea, and would be obligated to fight again if war broke out.
Bezan told The Daily Caller on Friday that Thursday’s NORAD revelation should light a fire under the Trudeau government.
“Based on yesterday’s testimony, Canadians can no longer falsely assume the United States will protect Canada from a North Korean missile. North Korea continues to aggravate tensions with their provocative missile testing and will not abandon its nuclear weapons program,” the defense critic said.
“We encourage the Government of Canada to work with our regional partners and allies, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, to strengthen defensive and deterrence measures while pursuing diplomatic solutions to de-escalate the situation on the Korean Peninsula,” Bezan continued.